Thursday, June 9, 2011

3 Month Supply

In the LDS church we are told to have a three month supply of food and other household necessities. This is to help us in times of need. Times of need could be large catastrophes like tornadoes and earthquakes and more personal needs such as a job loss or health problems. I also think there is a certain level of self discipline that one learns from building a supply. 

That being said, I don't have a three month supply. I have been thinking a lot about it and I need to get one. I can't really use the excuse of lack of space anymore. I have friends with small amounts of space who make it work and so can I. The other excuse I use is that we don't eat the same things twice all that often. We love to try new recipes and I can think of 5 recipes we repeat in a 3 month time. To fix this I asked Jason which meals he could eat once a week for three months. Thankfully we came up with a good variety. And, as Jason pointed out if we HAVE to use our food storage as our only food, we'll be pretty happy to eat just about anything.

To get myself started I found this amazing Excel spreadsheet from Food Storage Made Easy. I decided what we would eat every week for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Multiplied that by 4 to get a monthly total and the spreadsheet does the rest. I love it! I now know how much peanut butter I need for a 3 month supply. I feel like this is huge for me. 

My plan for building my supply is buy one or two extra things per week. I am not a good couponer but I will watch for sales and knowing tuna is on my list I will stock up when I see it is on sale. 

Once I have built up my supply I intend to use it. I chose recipes we eat so it should be easy to work them in to our regular meal plan. 

I am happy to share my recipes and spreadsheet if anyone is interested. Our dinners include Black Bean Soup, Greek Orzo, Thai Peanut Pork and Heart Beans & Sausage.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Cloth Diapers

It took me too long to do cloth diapers. I looked into it when Simon was born, but it wasn't as practical back then. They have improved significantly. When I learned I could get a diaper that would fit 10-45 pounds I was sold.

I'll explain my method. However, before I begin I must confess that I didn't start until Jack started pooping in the potty at 2 1/2 years old so I lack experience with the poops of a younger child. We did have a number of poopy diapers even though he was pooping mostly in the potty we had our share of poopy diapers.

Here is my complete set of Fuzzi Bunz.

Aren't they lovely! I loved having my little boy As you can see I have only 6. (For the next child I'm going to get 6 more to streamline the process). These are quite absorbent. They have a fleece lining so I didn't worry that pee was on Jack skin all the time. I only needed 3 a day. And I handwashed the ones that only had pee in them. I rinsed them well and gave them a little bath in vinegar water.

There are 2 ways to handle poop:
1. Get these flushable biodegradable diaper liners. However, oddly enough once I finally broke down and bought these Jack became completely poop trained and I never once had a poopy diaper with one of these. A note of caution: only flush the poopy ones, particularly if you have and old house with old plumbing. One reviewer said they clogged his pipes.
2. (Number 2...ha ha) Before I had liners (this might sound gross to some, but I'm so over poop and all over hand sanitizer) I rinsed them in the toilet. As it flushed it kind of sucks the poop off the diapers. Then I'd give it another rinse in the bathtub and then put through the washing machine.

There are 2 reasons I'm sold on cloth diapering.
1. The smell of poop is gone. I think poopy diapers sitting around is disgusting even if they are in the black garbage can outside. I hate opening that thing up and get a whiff of week old poop. I love how the poop is in the toilet where it belongs. Much worse a sack full of diapers waiting to go to the trash like I used to have in Chicago. If they ended up in the kitchen garbage I could smell it when I walked in my front door even if it was just a couple hours old and the garbage had a lid.
2. The green factor...I think of all those disposable diapers I went through and it kind of makes me sick.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Is it green? #1

I am starting a new series called is it green. Anyone can post this in this series. Just title it..."is it green? #_"

I am curious what you think about Amazon Prime. We are doing a trial month and I have ordered a couple things. It has been great to think "I need this" get on and buy it and get it a couple days later. A little dangerous if you are a compulsive shopper I think though. But not too dangerous when you aren't buying anything new so you are just getting things like office supplies. Jeff signed up so he could get free shipping on the next level of Hooked on Phonics for Simon (educational supplies are an exception for me). I ordered book tape...special tape for repairing my kids books. So, convenient, yes, but is it green? I UPS truck drove to my house just to bring me a roll of tape. That tape was in a cardboard box with packing supplies. All this for a roll of tape. What do you think? Is it green?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Thrifting Vintage 101

I just found this adorable blog called A Cat Of Impossible Colour. She did a series of blog posts about a year ago talking about thrifting and getting into vintage thrifting. I found it so helpful!

Here are the posts:

Part 1: Getting Started
Part 2: Finding Treasures
Part 3: Spotting Vintage
Part 4: Cleaning & Caring for Vintage Items
Part 5: Incorporating Vintage Into Your Wardrobe

I can't wait for March when I can go back to thrifting! I've missed it a lot.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Ways to Save $ on Groceries

Here is a great article about making food last longer. And timely considering some of us are doing a spending fast this month (buying nothing, but absolute necessities and limiting the food budget).

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

StoryCorps: My Nieces

NPR has a series called Story Corps where a traveling studio records average Joes recounting a fond memory or decisive life moment. The short vignettes are often moving, funny, or just entertaining. A project I'm starting combines this concept with a video I found on the interweb recently.

Marcel makes me laugh every time she introduces herself as 'Marshell'. I'm planning on making a similar video albeit with a distinct character so that my niece can narrate it and I can capture her voice at this stage in her life. When my other niece is a little bit older, I'll do the same with her. The person narrating Marcel is actually an adult, but my niece who will turn 4 this summer has an adorable voice. The motivation behind this project probably stems from me not wanting them to grow up... or at least so fast.

I made this video about a road trip with some good friends by compiling series of photos. For this video, I plan on setting up a staging area, taking multiple pictures and stringing them together in a sequence - kind of like claymation, but without the clay. I'll let you know how it turns out. I'm still in the conceptualizing phase at this point, but it should be done on time so I can deliver to my sister on her birthday. Thanks to Nothing New 2011, my gift-giving is going to start getting a bit more creative!

Monday, January 24, 2011

What to Do During 'Nothing New'

We've almost made it a full month, only 11 more to go! Like we discussed, below is a brainstorm list of monthly themes, projects, or meet-up activities. Add as you like!
  1. Bulk Up: Stock up on gifts for those last-minute baby showers, birthdays, etc. by holding marathon bulk crafting sessions.
  2. On the Mend: Mend all those shirts missing buttons, pants made for long legs, moth holes, etc. before the warm weather comes!
  3. Jewelry Fix-It-Or-Toss-It: Fix that broken jewelry you never wear because it's broken or toss it!
  4. 72-Hour Kit/Food Storage: Are you prepared?
  5. Can Your Heart Out: Learn (in my case) how to can and buy fruit/veggies in season and can 'em!
  6. Stuff Swap
  7. CSA Try Out: Give your local farmer a try by getting weekly deliveries of seasonal foods (depending on cost-effectiveness)
  8. "What Not to Wear": Bring those thrift impulse buys/odds and ends for a group opinion on how to fix it or reuse it.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Cami's Boot to Skinny Jean Tutorial

My focus for the week was to go through my clothes, try everything on and get rid of the things I don't like. I found a few things that had a category all their own. Basically I made a fix pile. These are clothes I don't particularly like for fit reasons but otherwise thought were fine. Among these was a pair of jeans that were boot cut, but were a little funny in the calf area. I'm not too sure why, they just were. It was like they were too wide but weren't flares. And they were too long. 

I don't know if I've mentioned it before but I'm slow getting into the skinny jean trend. I own a pair of black skinny jeans and that's it. After seeing an article this week on how the flared jeans are coming back but skinny jeans aren't going anywhere, I decided to change the weird bootcut jeans into skinny jeans. Here's how you can do it too.

 First you want to try the jeans on inside out. Jeans all have either the outside seam or inside leg seam that looks like it can be taken in. It's not the one with bulky decorative stitching. So check before you pin to determine if you're taking fabric from the outside of the leg or the inside. My jeans could be taken from the outside. (I think most jeans can be taken in from the outside of the leg).
 So you can see my pins here. I don't want them to be skin tight but I definitely want them to be skinny. Carefully take your pants off and sew along the pins.
 Try them on again just to make sure. When you're happy with the fit, take a deep breath and cut the extra fabric away. Remind yourself you were going to get rid of these pants anyway, so if you botch it you can just get rid of them. To avoid fraying I used pinking shears and then a large zigzag stitch along the edge.
 Try them on again. And mark where you need to hem them, if you do. I definitely do. There are many great tutorials on hemming jeans but since my jeans were sewn with white thread I just cut off the extra, folded up twice and sewed around to make a new hem. I don't think anyone can tell. Seriously. Oh and you'll need a heavy duty needle. I broke one because it wasn't for heavy fabric.
 Here they are. All done.
 And here they are with boots. Lovely. So, try it. I'd love to see what you come up with.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Cami's Exception

My exception is gifts. I can indeed buy gifts but I honestly want to try to make them first. My husband's exception is a VERY LARGE TV. I've tried to get him to wait until 2012 but I don't think he can. But I do think he will wait until the fall, so that's good! Otherwise we're all in!

LuAnn and Jeff's exceptions

I am giving myself $25 a month in mad money. This will either be a cushion for my craft budget or for a purchase of something new that is really important to me. It can be rolled over from month to month.

Jeff's exception is cycling clothes since it is for fitness and transportation. And if he really needs some new clothes for work he can get them on the Gap friends and family weekend.


Addendum: Educational materials for our kids are an exception. 2/23/2011
Addendum #2: Anytime buying something new will end up saving me money down the road without having a significant impact on the environment it is exempt. 3/4/2011
Addendum #3: Okay, so 2nd hand clothing shopping isn't working out for me and I don't have enough time to sew everything so I'll stick to sewing household items and clothes for the kids, but I am exempting clothes for Jeff and I from the Nothing New challenge. However, I am going only go shopping 4 times a year and buy one complete outfit right down to shoes and accessories. In between is on an absolute needs only basis...very basic stuff including t-shirts and basic shoes.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

L's Exceptions

And time to break the rules...
  • I can buy shoes.
  • I can use money from selling my junk to buy anything.
  • I eat out 6x a month.

Rules to Live By

The base rules for Nothing New in 2011 are as follows. Exceptions that break all the rules are in subsequent posts.

Okay to buy in 2011:

  • Groceries (try to buy local first)
  • Toiletries such as toothpaste, deodorant, laundry detergent etc.
  • Eating out when it is part of a social gathering
  • Health expenses as needed (i.e.: glasses, prescriptions, doctor visits)
  • Travel
  • Live performances
  • Fabric and craft supplies. On a budget.
  • Anything purchased with a gift card

NOT Okay to buy in 2011:

  • Gifts that are bought. It is okay for me to give money though.
  • New clothing, jewelry or accessories
  • New shoes
  • New books, magazines, movies, music etc.
  • New electronics